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East Bengal Club 3:1 Air-India

Goals: 1-0 Sydney Nkalanga (9'), 2-0 Dipankar Roy (44'), 3-0 Mike Okoro (58'), 3-1 Syed Rahim Nabi (90+1' own Goal)


East Bengal: Rajat Ghosh Dasdidar, Syed Rahim Nabi, Muttath Suresh, Arun Malhotra, Debabrata Roy, Covan Lawrence, Jatin Singh Bisht, Bernard Pires (65' Liswa Nduti), Alvito D'Cunha (41' Dipankar Roy), Mike Okoro, Sydney B Nkalanga (71' IM Vijayan)

Air-India: Raju Ekka, Abiodun Kolawole Martins, Benoy Kuruvilla, Santosh Koli, Noel Fernandes, Vijith Shetty, Javed Ansari (56' Haobijam Napoleon Singh), Hringsolal Thomte (69' Hamza Zaheer Abbas), Paresh Shivalkar, Anthony Fernandes (52' Uttam Leishangthem Singh), Bashiree Mohammed Abbas

Referee: S Suresh (Tamil Nadu)
Assistent Referees: T. Pradeep Kumar (Tamil Nadu), Rizwan-ul-Haq (Delhi)
Fourth Official: Chamchuk Lama (Sikkim)

Yellow Cards: none

Man of the Match Award: Mike Okoro (East Bengal)

Attendance: unknown

Match report:
coming later...

Post Match Press Conference Reactions:
Bimal Ghosh - Air India coach:
We conceded the first goal very early. The defenders were not settled. Because of one mistake. Then it went wrong after the goal.
No, we were not playing under the pressure of our opponents being East Bengal. It was the early goal that set us back. Then when I told my players to play a little cautiously and hold on for 1-0 till half-time, East Bengal scored the second goal. That helped them a lot. If it had been 1-0 at the start of second half, the situation would have been different.
It was the early lead that allowed East Bengal to play well for the remainder of the match.
Martins played well even though he practised only a few sessions.
I played Noel Fernandes at right midfield in a 3-5-2 formation. The groud is very big, so I decided to go in in the system with 5 midfielders. But the 1st goal upset everything.
I'm just really disappointed with the defeat.

Subhash Bhowmick - East Bengal Coach:
It was crucial we concentrated for 90 minutes. In such tournaments if you don't concentrate for the full time, you're out. Also, the first match is crucial in any tournament. I still feel we shouldn't have conceded the goal in the dying minutes.
The key is the team's performance, and that has to be good. In patches we made certain mistakes, and that we've to rectify.
Just because we did not do well in last year's competitions, it doesn't mean the people should lose all confidence in our abilities this year.
Air India are a tough, committed, fit side. We got our goals in the nick of times. The first came early on. The second just before the half-time. And the third when Air India were looking to pull one back.
Alvito was having pain, and so I subsituted him early on as I didn't want to aggravate it. We'll check on his situation later. I'll not risk him if he's not 100%.
I might play Nduti in a different role in other matches. He has good qualities, so I will try to see him in different roles.

Mike Okoro - East Bengal Striker/Man of the Match:
It was a good combination for me with Sydney. We're working together on our game. He is a player who wants to play. Our understanding is good, and we want it to improve from match to match.
We were prepared for this tough game. We saw HAL upset Dempo. So we knew we could not take Air India lightly.

Match Statistics:

  E. Bengal Air-India
Shots on goal 10 4
Headers on goal 1 2
Saves Goalkeeper 3 8
Direct Free-kicks 3 9
Indirect Free-kicks 0 4
Corner Kicks 5 3
Fouls Committed 15 9
Offsides 5 1
Penalties 0 0
Red Card 0 0
Yellow Cards 0 0
Throw Ins 32 27
Score 3 1